Following on from my previous post, where I reported on a collaboration between NASA and Uber relating to taxis in the sky, it seems that how we move about may well be the next big change after smart phones, even if I'm still skeptical that we'll all shortly be flying around in VTOL taxis.
The EPO have recently reported a study on "Patents and self-driving vehicles", which shows a significant increase in the number of patent applications at the EPO for autonomous driving related inventions (the figures are quite dramatic as shown in this article). Of further interest is that half of the top 25 companies filing patent applications at the EPO in this field (including the top four) are not traditional automotive/transport companies, but are instead from the Information and Communications technology (ICT) sector.
I wonder whether by the time my children learn to drive the roads will look very different to now?
The study, “Patents and self-driving vehicles”, carried out with the European Council for Automotive R&D (EUCAR), shows that the number of European patent applications related to autonomous driving has grown 20 times faster than other technologies in recent years: From 2011 to 2017, patent applications at the EPO for autonomous driving increased by 330%, compared to 16% across all technologies in the same period. And in the past ten years, the EPO received some 18 000 patent applications related to self-driving vehicles, with nearly 4 000 in 2017 alone.